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Wednesday, March 26, 2008


why john mccain is an unfortunate candidate for president

i like john mccain. he is a flawed person, but as politicians go it's hard to ask for much. i personally think he has a serious issue with confusing his post-traumatic stress with the needs and aims of the nation, and this leads him to be quite possibly the most militarist and imperialist of many militaristic and imperialistic senators. but again, with american politicians, it's hard to ask for much. he has completely humiliated himself in his drive for power -- but again, consider the field. it was easy to respect his ploy with the mccain 14 over the attempted annulment of the filibuster even if it amounted to a personal power grab that came to nothing, as it at least showed a healthy capacity to alienate one's own party base.

there is, however, another problem. with the united states having embarked this year on what promises to be an epic economic journey, john mccain by his own admission doesn't know fuck-all about economics. and that -- as we've seen with george w. bush -- leaves one at the mercy of the ideology and stupidity of one's advisors.

We should also convene a meeting of the nation’s top mortgage lenders. Working together, they should pledge to provide maximum support and help to their cash-strapped, but credit worthy customers. They should pledge to do everything possible to keep families in their homes and businesses growing. Recall that immediately after September 11, 2001 General Motors stepped in to provide 0 percent financing as part of keeping the economy growing. We need a similar response by the mortgage lenders. They’ve been asking the government to help them out. I’m now calling upon them to help their customers, and their nation out. It’s time to help American families.

someone in mccain's camp may think that american automakers were actually driven by something like charity to offer zero-percent financing -- but they also, more clearly and unforgivably, don't understand the first thing about the engine of securitization which made cheap money possible for everything from cheap car loans to cheap credit cards to cheap (and tricky) mortgages. as it happens, that same engine is at the source of the mortgage bubble and bust -- and it isn't coming back in anything like the form that made it possible for the credit arms of desperate carmakers in a society of declining real wages to securitize low-interest car loans to credulous investors of what were once perceived to be safe asset-backed securities.

a question, given that: how likely is it that mccain's camp has any idea at all about what must be done to help the situation?

if you didn't answer "not very", the consider this further quotation:

"I have always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers,” he said. “Government assistance to the banking system should be based solely on preventing systemic risk that would endanger the entire financial system and the economy."

to be sure, i completely agree.

but to say that now, when the banking system is in fact rife with systemic risk that endangers the entire financial system and the economy -- has in fact already sunk the economy into an increasingly obvious recession -- is to betray the fact that mccain and his advisors are allowing ideology to drive their pronouncement precisely because they are so out of touch and out of their depth with the real events of this credit crisis.

at some other point in american history, mccain would've made a respectable candidate. under the current circumstances, however, i have a very difficult time taking him seriously.

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a lexis-nexis search shows that ony the l.a. times picked up on mccain's turd of an idea, and only in passing--not even bothering to reflect on the absurdity of the notion. perhaps mccain was secretly trying to push the mortgage lending bloc squarely into the lap of the demos come election time? i can't imagine what other explanation would account for his handlers letting him say something like this to an audience, other than that...or the possibility that nobody would notice (which, clearly, seems to have happened). as with his iran/al qaeda gaffes, he's providing a wealth of evidence that he's too out of touch to be considered a serious candidate anymore.

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from Perrone:

GM, I gotta say, I continue to love your stuff.

"the form that made it possible for the credit arms of desperate carmakers in a society of declining real wages to securitize low-interest car loans to credulous investors of what were once perceived to be safe asset-backed securities."

nutshell, babe. the real problem is, and always has been, that regular folks aren't getting paid enough money. they ought to be, given their contributions to gains in productivity, but they don't, and ain't. that's why the few that _do_ make (more than) enough money have to keep inventing new ways to rip them off -- read, "creative credit" which then drives "creative investment vehicles." till they inevitably drive off the cliff, but then who pays? yep, not the ones who made the money.

so when does it get fixed? when regular folks start getting paid more money. that's at the heart of everything.

hey, when will you start doing some more writing on the Cubbies? I miss that.

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